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If you set aside the politics of the Edward Snowden case, which is a really tough thing to do at a place like Daily Kos, what Snowden did is a run-of-the-mill violation of a non-disclosure agreement.

In December of 2010, a former CIA officer named Jeffrey Alexander Sterling was charged in a 10-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury--charges that mostly focused on violating his NDA.

The indictment charges Sterling with six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, and one count each of unlawful retention of national defense information, mail fraud, unauthorized conveyance of government property and obstruction of justice.
Minus the obstruction of justice, this sounds like Snowden's story.
According to the indictment, Sterling was employed by the CIA from May 1993 to January 2002.  From November 1998 through May 2000, he was assigned to a classified clandestine operational program designed to conduct intelligence activities related to the weapons capabilities of certain countries, including Country A. During that same time frame, he was also the operations officer assigned to handle a human asset associated with that program.  According to the indictment, Sterling was reassigned in May 2000, at which time he was no longer authorized to receive or possess classified documents concerning the program or the individual.

In connection with his employment, the indictment alleges that Sterling, who is a lawyer, signed various security, secrecy and non-disclosure agreements in which he agreed never to disclose classified information to unauthorized persons, acknowledged that classified information was the property of the CIA, and also acknowledged that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information could constitute a criminal offense.  According to the indictment, these agreements also set forth the proper procedures to follow if Sterling had concerns that the CIA had engaged in any "unlawful or improper" conduct that implicated classified information.  These procedures permit such concerns to be addressed while still protecting the classified nature of the information.  The media, according to the indictment, was not an authorized party to receive such classified information under such circumstances.

The indictment alleges that Sterling, in retaliation for the CIA’s refusal to settle on terms favorable to him in the civil and administrative claims he was pursuing against the CIA, engaged in a scheme to disclose information concerning the classified operational program and the human asset – first, in connection with a possible newspaper story to be written by an author employed by a national newspaper in early 2003 and, later, in connection with a book published by the author in January 2006.

"The indictment unsealed today alleges that Jeffrey Sterling violated his oath to protect classified information and then obstructed an investigation into his actions. Through his alleged actions, Sterling placed at risk our national security and the life of an individual working on a classified mission," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. "Those who violate the law, and the trust placed in them by the U.S. government to keep our national security information secure, must be held accountable."

"Our national security requires that sensitive information be protected," said U.S. Attorney MacBride. "The law does not allow one person to unilaterally decide to disclose that information to someone not cleared to receive it. Those who handle classified information know the law and must be held accountable when they break it."

I'm not sure what motivates a guy like Edward Snowden to do intelligence-gathering in the first place, since he seems to have a problem with U.S. intelligence-gathering both foreign and domestic, but whatever his motivations to listen in on people in the first place, he did knowingly sign an agreement and then, like Sterling, "violated his oath to protect classified information."

Snowden knew the potential consequences for that choice, including the possibility of facing criminal charges, and he's now fleeing the consequences of that choice.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (33+ / 0-)

    "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

    by FiredUpInCA on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:15:35 AM PDT

  •  Snowden is no hero (17+ / 0-)

    It's really disheartening to see so many try to make a traitor into a hero.

    Thank you for this diary.

    The Green Tea Party is as dangerous as the original Tea Party.

    by Walt starr on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:31:53 AM PDT

    •  Snowden is a hero (19+ / 0-)

      It's really disheartening to see so many try to make a hero into a "traitor".

      Snowden has come to represent what little there is left that is good in America.  Starting with "truth" . . .

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:51:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are so wrong (7+ / 0-)

      And the point of this post is truly insipid.  The diarist likely has no idea of whether there even is a NDA, and while that might be a reasonable assumption, the diarist has no idea what it might say.

      But most of all, an NDA is not even the point.  Snowden is not the point.  Massive surveillance of the American people, arguably unconstitutionally, is the point.  Villifying the messanger for what Americans want to know and certainly should know, is just wrong.

      •  There's no NDA (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster, WakeUpNeo

        There is, however, a rather awe-inspiring process called "being read in," during which the criminal penalties for disclosing information as specified by the National Security act of 1955 are read to you, and which you must acknowledge understanding them.

        It's not quite the same thing; an NDA may cost you money, but this will send you to jail for serious time.

        Frankly, I'm mostly in favor of that; some of what one learns within the TSSC world would be quite dangerous and harmful if disclosed.  Some of it is laughable and self-important, but that's a small issue only.

        •  What about (0+ / 0-)

          Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

          by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:22:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Read that in its entirety (0+ / 0-)

            You'll find that it goes on about criminal penalties, not civil ones.  It's not an NDA, which is a civil contract, it's a document listing the criminal consequences of misbehavior.  (Yes, they call in an NDA, but it isn't.  NDA's are pretty threatening -- and only partially enforceable, in general.  Signing the form acknowledging this is freeking terrifying, and they guys in black suits with earphones and firearms come visit you if you violate it.)

            •  I understand your point but (0+ / 0-)

              I think this is what people are referring to when they talk about an NDA in the context of security clearances, not a civil contractual NDA such as one regarding intellectual property. I still think of it as an NDA, just a different type, with more serious consequences.

              Most people I work with have TS clearances, and I've been encouraged to get one as well, but I haven't. So I'm not personally acquainted with everything involved, I know several people who've gone through it. It can be a real pain in the ass for some.

              Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

              by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:37:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it is a real pain in the ass (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                and the reason why the investigations are so thorough and tedious is precisely because of people like Snowden.  There are three phases to a TS clearance process: they are 1) investigation; 2) adjudication and 3) indoctrination.  Investigation begins when an individual is requested to submit to a clearance process for employment reasons in connection with one (or more) services of the US government requiring it.  Adjudication is the process of approving and granting the clearance to the individual.  And indoctrination is the process by which a cleared individual accepts the rights and obligations conferred by the adjudication when the clearance is granted.  IT is during the indoctrination phase that the obligations - including reporting of individual actions or of circumstances that may present a risk to the person or to the government agency for which he or she works.  If Snowden held a TS clearance then he was capable of obtaining access to classified information whose disclosure is deemed to be at risk of "exceptionally grave danger to national security."  Criminal penalties apply if that disclosure is found to be intentional and purposeful, such as disclosure to national media.

                How and why a person who is in possession of, or discovers evidence of crimes committed within his chain of command or within the service to which he is attached is done through his company's Security Officer, who then refers it to the appropriate resource outside the chain of command but without committing spillage - the term for leaking classified information to those without a need to know.  A security officer within Booz Allen would have a need to know if Snowden uncovered evidence of a crime.  He didn't have to do it by committing a crime and endangering national security:  but he did.  I am really sorry if this comes across as not liberal enough for members here; however, the diarist is absolutely correct, however used a less than accurate term.  The murders in Pakistan may be considered a direct consequence of Snowden's disclosures, since those who committed them claimed it was in retaliation for NSA spying: I am sure he didn't intend for innocent civilians to be slaughtered by political and military enemies in reaction to his disclosures; but that is exactly what 'exceptionally grave harm to national security" entails.  

                "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

                by louisev on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:00:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  thanks for that detailed reply. (0+ / 0-)

                  What you say is consistent with what I've been told about the process. If I were hired today where I work, (at one of the large contractors that is often mentioned) instead of 20 years ago when I started, I would most likely be required to apply for a TS clearance, but I've managed to avoid that and work on mostly non-classified  projects.

                  Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                  by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 06:02:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  What about (0+ / 0-)

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:18:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  He is neither a hero nor a traitor. (9+ / 0-)

      He is, however, a law breaker.  

      With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

      by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:21:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's way too early to call him either a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      traitor or a hero.

      Time will tell.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:26:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  we throw both words around much too freely (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, futurebird

        Snowden is neither. Treason has a way high bar and it is not even close.   It is not something to use loosely. Same with hero. Heroes stand and face consequences.Heroes embolden us and inspire us.
        Time will tell with Snowden what he is but I guess he is just a blip and will fade into the background...until he is arrested or pardoned at some later date while the issue lives on.
        For me I would rather spend my energy today reflecting on a real hero in every sense who needs good karma as he fights to live...Mandela.

    •  Well, I guess you've demonstrated that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the diarists first sentence was true. It is hard to set aside the politics.

      Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:33:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  officialdom lies, cries, (15+ / 0-)

    and breaks every law; maybe even secret ones, and The People are guilty of proving it.
    Selectively unapplied law and enabled collusion got us here,  not the whistleblowers.

    Don Benedetto was murdered.-IgnazioSilone(BreadAndWine)

    by renzo capetti on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:32:00 AM PDT

  •  Quick! Stop thinking about domestic spying!! (14+ / 0-)

    Warning Alert:

    You have just read an article about Edward Snowden.  Reading an article about Edward Snowden may cause some vunerable or unstable people to think about how the US government is spying on its citizens.  Symptoms may include feelings of fear, betrayal, anger, and powerlessness.  Affected individuals may voice complaints about the president and the democratic party in general.  In severe cases, the subject's heair may catch fire.

    For immediate relief, the government/corporate partnership advises you to immediately stop thinking about the information Edward Snowden made public.  Your government/corporation partnership instead advises that you are still in danger from terrorist attacks, and you should instead think about how unlikeable Edward Snowden is, and how avoiding a criminal prosecution is a sign of personal weakness.  Or you can think how much you dislike Glen Greenwald instaed.  If the symptoms are particularly troublesome, try rubbing a NDA or the constitution on the affected region.

    Your government/corporate partnership advises you to practice safe news at all times.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:33:16 AM PDT

  •  all these characterizations are/premature. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Don Benedetto was murdered.-IgnazioSilone(BreadAndWine)

    by renzo capetti on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:34:22 AM PDT

  •  How often does the messenger need shooting? (15+ / 0-)

    Now, what you gonna do about the message?  Some CT screed about how we should always assume all of our communications are always monitored by No Such Agency?  Or nothing at all?  Because there's only so much messenger-shooting that will serve any purpose, and it's done.

    "You may very well think so, I could not possibly comment." ~ Francis Urquhart, pragmatic political philosopher

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:36:46 AM PDT

    •  I didn't realize it was news he broke the law. (4+ / 0-)

      At least this diary isn't calling him a traitor.

      •  And this diary isn't characterizing Snowden... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SpecialKinFlag, tardis10, BradyB, slatsg

        like the one posted against Greenwald yesterday-----as so overtaken by emotions that he's replaced his legal philosophy, carefully crafted over many years, with a new goal: Get OBAMA for prosecuting Glenn's "partner."

        Wonder why Snowden is credited with the ability to think clearly but the other is described like a latter-day Medaea or Clytemnestra--solely interested in settling scores for personal slights?

        I have a theory.

    •  Who's shooting the messenger? (6+ / 0-)

      Edward Snowden, a grown man with presumably all of his senses in tact, chose to work for an intelligence-gathering agency.

      In the course, of getting that job he signed an agreement, an oath, not to reveal the data he had access to at his job--an agreement that in some ways is similar to agreements that millions of Americans are required to sign in the course of getting their jobs.

      Snowden later chose to renege the terms of his agreement, knowing the consequences could include criminal charges.

      Nobody was shot, in the course of laying out what Edward Snowden did.

      "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

      by FiredUpInCA on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:47:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you misunderstand the phrase (9+ / 0-)

        Shooting the messenger is a phrase that points to an argument that attacks the source and does not engage the issue.

        In short, your point is beside the point, unless you have a blanker revulsion to all leakers and whistleblowers.

        Do you?

        •  I miss where I attacked the source (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tony Situ, freakofsociety, doroma
          I think you misunderstand the phrase. Shooting the messenger is a phrase that points to an argument that attacks the source and does not engage the issue.
          I understand the phrase "shooting the messenger." I could see someone saying I was shooting the messenger if I called him a traitor or engaged in some sort of ad hominem attack.

          The point of my diary is the mostly ignored, cut-and-dried legal aspect of the Snowden case that is behind the pursuit of him.

          The nature of his work required that he sign a non-disclosure agreement, an agreement if violated could result in criminal charges.

          He knowingly and willingly signed it and knowingly and willingly violated it. He's fleeing the consequences of that choice.

          No messenger-attacking. Just laying out what happened.

          "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

          by FiredUpInCA on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 11:00:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not an overlooked point (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slatsg, CanyonWren

            In fact, it is about the messenger - to wit "shooting the messenger" as opposed to engaging the message.

            As I said, that might be what interests you, but just because it does not interest a lot of us, that does not mean we are ignoring it.

            We just don't think this story about the messenger matters much,

      •  What I think the brave need to do: (0+ / 0-)

        If you're young and brave and concerned about the Surveillance State, sign up for these lovely agencies.  Play the good government bureaucrat for a while since they have that whole "Snitch on your co-worker" thing now in those across the FedGov (thanks again, Obama).

        Get as deep as you can, then blow the lid off their lies and deceptions.

        Make it impossible for the Surveillance State to do business.

        That's what finally ended the Vietnam War, but then they were drafting us to fight their dirty war, so what could they expect but desertion, disobedience and fragging?

        Now it will take some real heroes to go down into this cesspool and find out what's happening.

      •  And a soldier has the duty to not follow an (5+ / 0-)

        illegal order.  Thus making the soldier responsible for his decisions at some point.  

        Agreements are valid until they are invalid.

        If the government is breaking the law, would that invalidate a disclosure agreement?



  •  That's true for every leaker or whistleblower (16+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure that this is in dispute.

    The question is about justification re: Snowden.

    Personally I am more interested in what my government is doing than what Snowden is doing.


  •  "Cut and dry" (5+ / 0-)

    Well thank God we can stop thinking about this whole affair now.

  •  Perhaps. (11+ / 0-)

    It's similarly easy to show the NSA program to be violative of millions of American citizens' Constitutional right.

    Thankfully, Snowden can make basic moral decisions and saw the unchecked NSA  as the greater threat to all our freedoms and decided to violate his NDA.

    Snowden may have gotten a parking ticket the day he leaked the info too? Hope springs eternal.
    Keep looking.

  •  Wonder which is the more dangerous... (10+ / 0-)


    Snowden's decision to ignore his NDA. Or DNI Clapper's lying under oath to one of the few people in the country nominally in a position to provide oversight?

    Which does President Obama find more troubling? Or does he even think Clapper's lie was illegal? Has he even sent Clapper a sternly worded letter or is Congressional oversight another price we'll pay for our freedoms?

  •  Non-disclosure agreements are inherently (4+ / 0-)

    offensive in a society where the people govern and speaking is recognized as a right.
    Now, I will grant that the proponents of speech that is not constrained by threat of punishment likely realized that it is preferable for a society know who's discontented, rather than having them agitate in secret, but the temptation by officials to keep secrets is obviously even greater and has to be constantly resisted.
    Perhaps the injunction not to punish individuals or the press for their utterances was designed to set an example and discourage public officials from giving in to the temptation. If so, it hasn't worked. Why? Because acting in secret is essential to successful deprivation and deprivation is central to the exercise of power. Power, to be felt, has to hurt -- not destroy. Actually killing people is counter-productive because dead people don't know who's powerful.
    Which is actually the reason terrorists do what they do. Terrorists kill off non-entities to demonstrate to the powerful that they are powerful as well. So, for example, the U.S. invaded and decimated Iraq to demonstrate to a "resurgent Russia" and a "rising China" that it is the super power, able to engage in multiple conflicts at once and impose its will on the Eastern hemisphere. If U.S. reputation was tarnished, it was because the Iraqi people refused to be reduced to compliance and persisted in their insistence that the U.S. get out.
    Who's to blame? It was Congress that issued the AUMF. It was Congress that passed the PATRIOT act to reduce citizen rights. It was Congress which insisted on tracking down terrorists with military assets, but not on the ground--a criterion that promoted drones without specifying it. Legislators promote gerrymandered districts to disenfranchise the electorate. We are, to put it mildly, not well served by our legislative representatives. It is not the private corporations' fault that so many can be bought.
    That they are for sale, by the way, is evidenced by the fact that individual citizens are also routinely tapped for money, even though we already pay for their services. We are being held up by democrats and republicans alike.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:55:17 AM PDT

  •  I both agree and disagree (5+ / 0-)

    When I was read in, they showed me the consequences, and made sure that I signed on the dotted line.  Those consequences are dire, and, frankly, ought to be so in most cases.

    There's an important difference between the Snowden and Sterling cases, though: Snowden doesn't seem to have benefitted financially from his disclosures, nor did he seem to have any particular financial interest in them; in fact, he seems to have been financially and personally hurt by them, and he seems to have known that would happen.  The Sterling case is very different: the indictment suggests that he was greymailing the government over a settlement.  If so, that puts his behavior in a very different light.

    In my opinion, if Snowden's disclosures are broadly accurate, then he's committed no crime.  His defense would be the same as that of most leakers: necessity.  If the government has been abusing its national security powers and hiding those abuses behind the very security fence those powers create, then exposing those abuses is warranted by the situation, and therefore necessary.

    Thus, depending on his motivation, Snowden may either have violated his NDA criminally or not.  That's something for a court to decide.

  •  cut and dried huh? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    you must be one of them new fangled Democrats. brand orientated, winning elections-orientated... beating Republicans is more important than fracking/water/climate/privacy/bankers facing accountability... orientated.

    and justifying what-next I wonder....

    but concern over issues? not so much.

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

    by pfiore8 on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:55:36 AM PDT

  •  So what's your plan (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpecialKinFlag, PhilK, tardis10, PBnJ

    when every wrongdoing by the NSA is classified?  Every consequence of pretzel-logic legal interpretation is classified. Every unconstitutional action is classified. Everything potentially embarrassing is classified. Evil deeds are classified. History is classified.

    In your authoritarian world of rules, how will any wrongdoing by the NSA ever see the light of day?

    What about the climate cliff?

    by wayoutinthestix on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:57:15 AM PDT

  •  None of which is relevant. (5+ / 0-)

    The info Snowden shared did not endanger a single person, as, for example, the outing of Valerie Plame certainly did. And Snowden's reasons for sharing the info were certainly more justifiable than those of Cheney's office in that other instance. Yet Cheney calls him a traitor, and remains unpunished and unpunishable, while Snowden gets charged under the most stringent possible statute.

    In the Plame case, the motive was revenge against her husband for revealing info that conflicted with the scenario the the administration was building to justify war in Iraq. In Snowden's case, the motive was making information available about something the government has been and is doing to citizens.

    Whose was the greater betrayal?

    Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

    by ramara on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 11:00:04 AM PDT

    •  This remains to be seen (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WakeUpNeo, futurebird
      The info Snowden shared did not endanger a single person
      He has shared info witht he Chinese, he has more info to share with whoever he decides to share it with. It's already more than a couple of PowerPoint slides, and we really don't know what the ramifications in that regard are going to be - short term or long term.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:59:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So you go for a job interview , (4+ / 0-)

    they say they can't tell you everything about the job ,
    but its important , you will be fighting the bad guys , etc ,
    until you sign the non disclosure agreement .
    You sign it and then find out , on the job , what is going on .

    the fact that NSA is spying on everyone with much deeper probing into our personal lives then even Stasi could do.
    What do you do ?
    Keep working ?
    Quit and say nothing ?

    If you felt that your job was worse than the stasi ,
    what you were being asked to do was worse than the stasi ?

    The standard you walk past is the standard you accept. David Morrison

    by indycam on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 11:03:10 AM PDT

  •  This is what bothers me so much. (6+ / 0-)

    If Snowdon were working in a chemical plant and saw that the owners were illegally dumping toxins in our water supply, I'd endlessly admire his "whistleblowing." But he voluntarily took a job where he signed an agreement not to disclose. He also has some very basic knowlege gaps about our government. (For example, he can't understand why Obama didn't snap his fingers and close Guantanamo.)

    There is a huge, national discussion about our data and who has the right to it. It should encompass both commercial and government sources. The Patriot Act ought to be shredded and a new act that authorizes VERY limited data access, with well supervised authority, written.

    But none of these are happening because we are split on whether I guy who violated a contract is a hero or a villain. He is actually poorly educated and probably on a real ego trip right now.

    Let's have some real leaders (Sanders, Grayson, and Michael Moore) lead a new national debate about data in the future.

    •  However.... it is very likely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      If Snowdon were working in a chemical plant and saw that the owners were illegally dumping toxins in our water supply, I'd endlessly admire his "whistleblowing."
      that Snowden, if working in such a chemical plant, he would have been required to sign a nondisclosure agreement too.

      They are hardly unusual in business and industry.

      Disclaimer: Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorists may vary according to region, definition, and purpose. Belief systems pandered separately.

      by BlackBandFedora on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 08:39:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I know many cases (0+ / 0-)

        Including the least senior or lowest paid, who do things just because they are told.

        This is a complex issue. My real concern is that we are talking about the government's data mining  when the Kochs et al have endlessly more access to the same data and the unholy marriage between government and private contractors is left unexamined.

        If I were queen I'd scrap the entire Patriot Act and start again. There would be some, carefully supervised and controlled, access to data when a clear and present danger is established, but neither government nor oligarchs would have access to the database without that scrutiny.

        Our forefathers said "No quartering of troops..." By that they meant our front doors were sacred. Now, they couldn't imagine today's data mining but in my mind it is the same thing.

  •  Digging deep! (0+ / 0-)

    Still nothing there, unfortunately!  

    Slap happy is a platform.

    by averageyoungman on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 11:31:43 AM PDT

  •  Oh... grow up! (5+ / 0-)

    What is it with the the people who comment on DK? Is sitting at a keyboard writing snark the sum total of your activities as a so called progressive? Are you all under age 40? I marched. I protested. I sat in. I was beaten, tear gassed, CS gassed, and arrested. I did not like it. It was not fair or right. I complained, but I did not whine. I did what I did because it was the necessary thing to do. I violated the law and I was old enough to understand that there were consequences for doing so.

    Snowden violated his ND agreement. He did so for valid, even admirable reasons, but he still violated the rules he had agreed to. He should have known that the authorities were not going to just let this stand. His present predicament was totally foreseeable.

    Snowden is no great hero. He's just one of countless thousands who flung his body into the gears of the machine. The idea that he should expect to walk away unharmed is laughable. Doing the right thing frequently has a cost. Be willing to pay it, or just stay home, order another pizza, bang away at your keyboard and whine about how unfair the world is.

    In their eyes there's something lacking; what they need's a damn good whacking.

    by Mad City 67 on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 11:36:25 AM PDT

  •  Are non-disclosure agreements good for democracy? (0+ / 0-)

    Whose interests are served by the proliferation of the tactic of forcing all employees of public and private entities to sign all-encompassing documents forbidding public discussion of any element of their professional lives?

    Why does this diary find NDAs so pedestrian and benign that the act of violating one is an obvious failing for which an individual is justly punished?

    Do NDAs exist only to protect national and trade secrets?

    Or are they a key part of a broader move toward social control and muzzling the free spread of information, opinion, and dissent?

  •  So be broke the agreement. Good for him! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    urovermyknee, xxdr zombiexx

    He exposed information that we, as citizens in a democracy, need to have.

  •  so what? (0+ / 0-)

    who cares about some "agreement", of a type that is routinely ignored even in the US?

    He'll find asylum in some country, and the US gov't will:

    1. try to intimidate that country, or
    2. try to kidnap him, or
    3. foam at the mouth and do nothing, really.

    It's not a great selection, so..

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 12:44:40 PM PDT

  •  fear (0+ / 0-)

    Fear always make hypocrites of the unprincipled. What we are witnessing is the pure unadulterated cowardice and abandonment of democratic principles by many 'americans'.

    this is not a nuanced situation, we either have a functioning constitution or we do not. I spent my own personal $$ as we all time helping re-elect someone I truly thought would re-orient our national paranoia..... alas....

  •  damn the Constitution...Non-disclosure agreements (0+ / 0-)

    are what made this country what it is today.

    And don't you forget it, punk.

    Nice try, FiredUpinCA.  

    Cause he gets up in the morning, And he goes to work at nine, And he comes back home at five-thirty, Gets the same train every time.

    by Keith930 on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:59:14 PM PDT

  •  Hm, I don't think that I can agree with you here. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    The reason we have laws that are supposed to protect whistleblowers is that, in a democratic society, we need whistleblowers to inform us of agencies or institutions run amok.

    To me, the Snowden case is different because, unlike in the Sterling case and the Wikileaks case, lives are not being directly endangered, and some of the things that he is revealing do point to govt. agencies run amok and illegal activity by govt. agencies.

    I am a strong Obama supporter, but I also think that our intelligence agencies are kind of out of control(just how badly they are out of control I really don't know).  This is a case where President Obama needs to evolve, imo.  There are some very real dangers to the health of our democracy when intelligence agencies have this much mostly unsupervised power.  I do trust the Obama Administration to mostly do the right thing, but what happens if we have a repeat of an Administration like the Bush/Cheney Admin. and they assume control of these powers?  


    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:59:38 PM PDT

  •  Really? The knee-jerk response of those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx

    who defend our government of Corporate Empire actually raise the issue of "non-disclosure agreements"?

    The banality of evil comes to mind.

    This isn't about procedures.

    It's not about "protecting America".

    It's about our out of control Corporate Empire and it's high fucking time we started paying attention and learning more about what it is up to.

    So sorry if that conflicts with the Defend anything related to Obama at all costs doctrine.

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:59:57 PM PDT

    •  Hey look (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnathan Ivan

      it say on page 7, section D paragraph C, line 17 if any day of the week contains the letter "y" you cannot describe crimes to anybody.

      We're just stuck: this sort of contract nullifies the whole Constitution of the United States of Murika, and those corporations for whichens it stands.

      Got that?

  •  It's a very silly place. (0+ / 0-)

  •  Obama is the President, therefore.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx

    Snowden = criminal / evil / malcontent / 'murika hatin' basket case.

    Now, once there's a Republican back in the Oval Office, we can become outraged at the evil Security state activities of our Corporate-1%-Government.

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:04:00 PM PDT

  •  I'm guessing Obama doesn't want to (0+ / 0-)

    Look Forward and Not Backward, eh?

    Hey, if Looking Forward is good enough to ignore a disastrous war that has killed 100K+ people, displaced millions, and wrecked an entire country..

    .. oh wait.. that war was supported by our 1% / Corporate Masters.  Snowden exposing Empire's dirty police state tactics... not so much.

    Guess we won't be Looking Forward this time, eh?

    Waking Up Yet?

    The excuses for Obama's behavior have long since passed the point of predictability neccessary to qualify as an absurd production of Kabuki Theater.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:17:30 PM PDT

  •  Snowden (0+ / 0-)

    He's a hero. And definitely my hero.  But he also broke the law and is culpable.   So he's both.

  •  What Snowden has started, we need, but Snowden.. (4+ / 0-)

    ..could have remained anonymous

    The ultimate goal is to get rid of the unconstitutional "Patriot" Act and shut down (or put under real and serious oversight) all of the various surveillance programs (NSA/PRISM etc.) stemming from that mess - right?

    Charles Pierce has some thoughts and questions about Snowdens behavior that I thought were relevant
    The Snowden Effect, Continued By Charles Pierce

    He doesn't want jail time.  Perfectly reasonable. Then why did he out himself in the first place?

    That's my question

    As it is. Snowden could have remained anonymous and gotten the word out via Glenn Greewald or another avenue he trusted.

    Now the conversation is about Snowden when it should be about domestic surveillance and whether we as a people want billions of our tax dollars being funneled into private surveillance corporations just lke Snowdens employer - Booz Allen Hamilton et al.

    I don't get it

    Thx FiredUpInCA

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